Africa Magazine Announces List of 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017

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New African Magazine has announced its list of Africa’s most influential people for 2017.

In an article on the magazine’s website, Omar Ben Yedder, group publisher and managing director of IC Publications, says: “What our readers will find pleasing is the almost bewildering diversity of this list –  in terms of race, ethnic and national diversity. This list, if nothing else, displays the beauty and power of the diversity that makes the Africa we all love.”

The list, which profiles both continental and Diasporan Africans nominated by their peers and industry insiders, covers eight categories:

  • politics and public service
  • business and finance
  • civil society and activism
  • education
  • science, technology and innovation
  • media
  • arts and culture
  • sport

There are 42 women on the list – the highest number since the magazine began publishing the list five years ago

With 21 entries, Nigeria tops the nominations, closely followed by South Africa with 14 names. In total, the list includes entries from 31 countries including 12 from Francophone Africa.

“Our criteria for ‘influential’ this year was a fairly simple one – it is applied to people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling. This effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others. Many in our selection have shattered the proverbial glass-ceilings or disability stigma and do so with great bravery, determination and personal sacrifice. Others yield economic power that impacts world markets,” said editor Anver Versi.

FULL LIST (Nationality/Descent in Brackets)


Amina J Mohammed – UN Deputy Secretary General. (Nigeria)

George Weah – Football legend and aspiring President (Liberia)

Yemi Osinbajo – Vice President (Nigeria)

Alpha Condé – President (Guinea)

Mohammed VI – King (Morocco)

Justice David Maraga – Supreme Court Judge (Kenya)

Nana Akufo-Addo – President (Ghana)

Sophia Abdi Noor – Politician (Kenya)

Akinwumi Adesina – President Africa Development Bank; Winner – World Food Prize 2017 (Nigeria)

Vanessa Moungar – Director of Gender AfDB (Chad)

Vera Songwe – New head – UN Economic Commission for Africa (Cameroon)

Moussa Faki Mahamat – African Union Commission Chairperson (Chad)

Paul Kagame – President (Rwanda)

Pravin Gordhan – Political stalwart, former Finance Minister (South Africa)

Sibeth Ndiaye – Advisor to French President Macron (Senegal)

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus – new and first African WHO Director-General (Ethiopia)

Bola Tinubu – Former Lagos State governor (Nigeria)

Prof. Ruth Oniang’o – Nutritionist, Africa Food Prize Winner (Kenya)


Aliko Dangote – Successful business mogul Africa’s richest man (Nigeria)

Issad Rebrab – Founder and CEO, Cevital (Algeria)

Isabel dos Santos – Billionaire businesswoman former Chairperson Sonangol (Angola)

Mohamed Al Kettani – CEO Attijariwafa Bank (Morocco)

Lionel Zinsou –  creator of the Africa-France club (Benin)

Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu – Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Nigeria)

Makhtar Diop – World Bank Vice-President for Africa (Senegal)

Abdoulaye Coulibaly – Founder of the Bamako Forum (Mali)

Abebe Selassie – Head of IMF African Department. (Ethiopia)

James Mworia – MD and CEO of Centum Investments (Kenya)

Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais – Founder and CEO, Quantum Global (Angola)

Mohammed Dewji – CEO MeTL Group (Tanzania)

 Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless (Zimbabwe)

Alioune Gueye – Entrepreneur (Senegal)

Moulay Hafid – Minister of Trade and Industry (Morocco)

Dr Sahar Nasr – Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (Egypt)

Olga Johnson – Secretary General of the Foundation for Energy (Benin)

Elon Musk – Founder: PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and OpenAI (South Africa)


Haben Girma – Deafblind Harvard Law law graduate and disability rights activist (Eritrea/Ethiopia/US)

Patrick ‘PLO’ Lumumba – Defence lawyer and anti-corruption champ (Kenya)

Dr Fatima Akilu – Psychologists and founder Neem Tree Foundation Rehabilitating Boko Haram victims (Nigeria)

Biram Dah Abeid   – Award-winning anti-modern slavery hero (Mauritania)

Ikponwosa Ero – UN’s Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism. (Nigeria)

Kumi Naidoo – Co-founder, Africans Rising (South Africa)

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali – takes controversial stand on same-sex marriage (Uganda)

Jaha Dukureh – Founder Safe Hands – Anti FGM and Child Marriage (Gambia)


Nunu Ntshingila – Head, Facebook Africa (South Africa)


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